How Long Does Soy Milk Last (And Why?)

Exact Answer: 7-10 Days

Soy milk, an increasingly popular alternative to dairy milk, is a plant-based beverage.  Several people are switching to soy milk in favour of cow milk, as it is healthier and contributes to weight loss. People with lactose intolerance who cannot digest cow milk find soy milk a better alternative.

Though it marginally has the same nutritional value as cow’s milk, soy milk is high on protein and low in saturated fat. It is refined with vitamins and minerals, offering countless health benefits. It improves brain and heart health and decreases the symptoms of menopause.

How Long Does Soy Milk Last?

A common misconception about soy milk is that it wouldn’t spoil if left unrefrigerated. Many assume that soy milk, being a non-dairy product, is safe outside the fridge. Contrary to belief, soy milk spoils similarly to cow milk. Common indicators of its expiry include sourness in taste and smell and a lumpy texture. The carton expands abnormally, and the color of milk darkens. Consuming spoiled soy milk may cause nausea and stomach disturbances that could lead to food poisoning.

Soy milk can be categorised into the refrigerated type and the shelf-stable type. The non-refrigerated type lasts longer than the refrigerated type. Both types of soy milk need to be stored in the fridge after opening. Refrigerated soy milk lasts 7 to 10 days in the fridge, after which it isn’t safe to consume.

Non-refrigerated milk has a long shelf-life of 6 to 8 months if it stays unopened. The expiration date only determines the shelf life of an unopened carton.

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Soy milk can be frozen and stored after opening. Frozen soy milk lasts up to 3 months. It is thawed and used for consumption after freezing. Though freezing does not alter the safety or nutritional value of the milk, it affects the texture and smell. Once thawed, it should be used within two days and never re-frozen.

Non-refrigeratedRefrigerated
Opened Soy Milk 7-10 days (in the fridge)7-10 days (in the fridge)
Unopened Soy Milk 6-8 Months after the expiry date (shelf-life)7-10 days (in the fridge)
Frozen Soy Milk3 months (freezer)3 months (freezer)

Why Does Soy Milk Last This Long?

Regular cow’s milk spoils after two weeks. Soy milk is different and does not spoil in the same manner as dairy milk. The longevity of the product is directly affected by how it’s stored. Sealed cartons of soy milk last much longer than opened ones. It expires quicker when left opened as soy milk is prone to development.

Shelf-stable milk remains safe at room temperature if left unopened. It does not need to be refrigerated. Sealed cartons of non-refrigerated milk last for 3 to 4 weeks if stored in the pantry. Contrarily, refrigerated milk is affected by a change in temperature. Temperature affects the consistency of milk. Keeping refrigerated milk at room temperature causes faster deterioration. Therefore, it spoils quicker if left outside. Refrigeration slows down the degradation of the ingredients.

Opened cartons of milk are not safe to use if left outside for a few hours. However, if the expiry date is far away, it might still be good to go. Its usability depends on the amount of temperature exposure and the age of the carton. Additionally, half-empty cartons spoil quicker due to greater exposure to air.

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Home-made soy milk has a shorter lifespan than store-bought milk. The milk sold in stores has added preservatives, which help them last longer. Contrarily, homemade soy milk lacks extra preservatives and fortified nutrients. It’ll only last a few days in the fridge. It is best to consume soon after making it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, soy milk is a popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk. It is rich in protein like cow’s milk and has antioxidant properties. Though low in calcium, store-bought soy milk is fortified with vitamins to increase its nutritional value.

Milk made from soybeans is less taxing to the environment than cow’s milk. Being a plant-based beverage, it is ecologically beneficial. In addition, it can be used as a replacement to make imitation dairy products. It also makes for a popular ingredient in milk-based foods. Though soy milk is prone to spoilage, it can be used for a long time if stored properly.

References

  1. https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1995.tb01377.x
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464613002041

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